Do I Have A Right To Open A Wound In Another Just To Heal My Own?

I had a dream last night that seemed to drag on and on. It started somewhere in the middle of the night, I would awaken in my restlessness for a moment, fall back asleep, and it would resume where it had left off. This happened several times until I roused myself this morning. The scenario was different, but the character in it was someone I’m very familiar with. I’ve dreamt of him often over the years. How could I not? He was a man I loved that I never told. The only one in the history of the many men I’ve had in my life as friends and lovers that I never had the courage to share my feelings with. No one knew. Well, I guess some-one did.

I get edgy, nervous, full of emotion around this time of year. My best friend, Beth’s, birthday will be in eight more days. I say will, because although she may no longer be here I still celebrate this day for her. I still celebrate her life every day. I sit here now unable to stop the waterworks, only wishing that I were able to cram thirty years of memories into this post so all of you could see who she was and celebrate her life with me. And celebrate it you would. If only I had the ability to paint a picture that would show how she could walk into a room and light it up; make the crowd her own. She was never second-glance beautiful, but she could steal the attention away from someone far prettier than her. I know, I spent nearly my entire life in her shadow. And that was okay because I bathed in her magic while I watched. Wherever we went people flocked to her; men wanted to be with her, and I saw the envy in the eyes of women who wished they could be like her. Her presence was nothing short of intoxicating. This little, 4’11 woman who weighed nary enough to keep the wind from taking her in flight, had the ability to control an entire crowd just with her personality. She was, and I don’t take this word lightly, the most audacious woman I’ve ever met. I never once in all the years we were friends saw her back down from a challenge because it seemed too hard, a fight because the person seemed too intimidating, loving someone because they seemed unworthy, helping someone because it was inconvenient, or forgiving someone because the deed they’d committed had been too much to forgive. To this day, almost three years after her death, I still aspire to be a tenth of a woman that she was. She took all this with her when she died…and secrets too numerous to count. Most were mistakes we made we only felt comfortable sharing with the other, some were just embarrassing moments we hoped no one would ever find out about, and then others…well, they were important enough to take to the grave. At least she thought so anyway. The fact is I never told this person how I felt about him, because she wouldn’t let me.

I know this seems ridiculous and almost inconsequential now. I mean, what good is going to come from my saying anything at this point, right? I’m married and have a life. And the relationship he and I have brinks on friendly, but has never really materialized into much. A large part of it has to do with how our relationship started, later who it involved, and largely in part to the lifestyle that he chose to have. It’s hard to become close to someone who’s life you have nothing but childhood memories in common with. Still, it bothers me. I believe because I left it unfinished and feel like I’ve been deceitful all these years in pretending that I felt nothing and could take him or leave him. I had to though. First it was to save my pride and reputation. Then it became about Beth. Though a bit younger than me and several inches shorter, she always thought herself more worldly, wiser, and able to see the forest for the trees more clearly than I could. She said I loved too much and made myself vulnerable. She looked out for me. And although she couldn’t control everything I did and all the men I chose to love and make mistakes with, she was vehement about this one. I laughed and told her it wouldn’t matter one way or the other to him really, and that he had never taken me seriously so what harm could come of it. Still she felt enough apprehension there to keep me from saying the words in his presence aloud. She loved him too, but knew he was bad for me. Bad mainly because of history and she spotted that weakness in me. You see…he is her brother.

I can’t explain why this seems so important to me right now. Why, in fact, so many inconsequential things do. Perhaps because I’ve been getting honest with myself about my past, my present, who I really am, what I’m entitled to have and the emotions I’m entitled to feel. I’m starting to own everything in my life, it’s suddenly happening all at once, is very scary, but I don’t want to stop it. There has to be a reason for this desire I have to speak the truth or I wouldn’t be wrestling with it and dreaming about him again, right? A part of me wonders how much of it has to do with the fact Beth’s birthday is approaching. Or could it be that his life is in such a place right now where it would do him good to hear that there was someone who cared about him and believed in him all these years despite the extremes he went to in showing everyone that he was not worthy of a woman’s love and respect? Does he need someone to say “I know you’ve been able to fool everyone else all these years, but I know who you really are inside, and you are a remarkable person who has a big heart.”? Maybe it was triggered when I looked at my son as he sat in prison and know everyone around him thinks he’s hardcore, tough, has led a seedy life, and probably counts him out completely, and yet I can see right through that guise and know that he’s nothing like that at all. But more important I know he counts on me to believe different about him, so he doesn’t start believing what others do and completely give up on himself.

I’m grasping really…looking for an excuse just to come clean with what I’ve been carrying and then bury it again with Beth. It truly isn’t about him anymore, but only about me. I never stirred that something inside of him that I did many other men. He never looked at me in that special way, or took me seriously. I made the mistake early on of not being the challenge that he apparently needed to hold his interest. I was sixteen, naive, wide-eyed and thought him The Shit. I just wanted to be with him and didn’t have the wisdom and foresight to know I/it meant nothing to him. And though I thought I’d made my peace with this long ago when I took my power back by being the aggressor and used him. I guess I hadn’t. I thought it was enough to walk out that door after without so much as a goodbye kiss, a “I’ll call ya soon” promise, or even a recognition that the deed had ever occurred. It was about pride. About letting him know that what he’d done meant nothing to me. It hadn’t broke or changed me in any way. I was a big girl, and I no longer allowed men to use me without my consent and without extending the same gratuity to them.Ā  I thought I’d conquered the emotions associated with being the sacrificial virgin for his teenage desires. And maybe I have. What I’ve never let go of though, is the fact that before that happened I saw something in him. I can’t explain it, other than he had that Beth magic. There was something more to him that he only allowed his family to see. Over the years I saw more and more of him through her eyes in spite of the view he gave his friends and the public. Perhaps this is why I couldn’t not be friendly with him and still to this day defend him to others when they would refer to him with negative connotations.

So what say people, do I have a right to purge myself of this? Should I shed this thirty-two year shame, crawl out from beneath the embarrassment and pride that I’ve hid under, and just tell him that what he did hurt me because I really cared for him? That for me it wasn’t just supposed to be a wham-bam-thankyou-mam? That my first husband was never my first choice even though he was better looking and more popular, but that I settled because I couldn’t have him? And that he royally screwed up his life with the drugs, the loose women who did them with him, has no wife or children to show for it now, but if he’d given me a chance to let me love him he could’ve had all those things and more? Do I have a right to open a wound in another just to heal my own?

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20 Comments on “Do I Have A Right To Open A Wound In Another Just To Heal My Own?”

  1. I’m working backwards through a couple missed posts, so have just come to this one.

    “My secrets are what keep me sick. I think Iā€™m entitled to let go of them to get better.” That’s a very revealing statement, and of course nobody knows the hard truth of it but you. But I wonder if it’s possible that confronting someone with that as the reason, is more about satisfying one’s own curiosity and desire for revenge than it is about healing.

    It’s probably important to remember that a man’s brain is wired differently from a woman’s, and his emotional makeup is different, too. You could be very disappointed with the results of a conversation that doesn’t end up accomplishing what you hoped. IMHO the best way of letting go of secrets and stresses that drag you down is just to let them go. At least, that’s my two bits worth. šŸ™‚

    • I know what you’re saying. Trust me though, I don’t have any preconceived notions about how this would play out, nor would I be disappointed if there were no reaction at all. I really don’t expect one. Honestly, I doubt that if the opportunity even arose I would use it. Several times in the past few years since my best friend passed away I’ve had the opportunity and didn’t move on it. I don’t know if it’s fear that I won’t be able to word what I need to say properly, or just the common sense factor of letting sleeping dogs lie. I guess I’ll just see how it plays out. I’ve noticed most generally things have a way of working themselves out on their own.

  2. Girl…keep it to yourself…trust that Beth knew best, there was a reason for her not wanting you to tell him. Whatever it may be. Just heal yourself, come to terms with what happened an leave it in the past, where it probably belongs…

    • Well, I do admit I’m a lot more emotional right after I have one of those dreams than I am days after when I’ve allowed the dust settle. Today it doesn’t seem as pressing as it did a few days ago. Unfortunately, I know it will rear it’s ugly little head again. The good thing is that he and I don’t see each other very often, and I have plenty of time to contemplate how to handle it if I do decide to broach the subject. Who knows, at the rate I’m going I may be long gone before that opportunity even arises. I gotta tell ya, North Carolina and bunking down with Pandora Patty for a while is sounding sweeter and sweeter everyday. I’m beginning to think my marriage might not handle these last waves that have been tossing us about.
      Beth was very over-protective of my feelings. She watched me go through so much in my life, that if she had it her way she would’ve completely cushioned me from everything. Alas, that’s hard to do when someone like me thinks herself a professional ’emotional’ wrestler. I’m famous for facing things head-on if at all possible. I guess time will tell what’s going to happen, but at least now I have some other opinions to chew on a little.

  3. Ed Williams says:

    Lou…
    I love your description of your relationship with Beth. You truly have a wonderful way with words. Keep writing.
    Ed

    • Thanks, Ed.
      I truly fail at doing her memory justice though. It’s hard for me to capture her essence, other than saying she was like a mischievous sprite, and at the same time a muse that inspired. She always believed in me and my writing. She always told me I was going to do something wonderful with it. Well, I never did. But just knowing she saw me in that light meant everything to me.

  4. Someone once told me that no-one is dead while they are still remembered. You may not be able to reach Beth at the moment but she would be pissed off big time if you went against her wishes/commands. And she sounds like an amazing woman who you would not want to piss off. If she was still with you, what would she say? And would you listen? Sometimes wounds do have to be left to form scar tissue, no matter how that itch and how much you want to scratch.
    Go with your gut/heart, but think about those things. (and I am not trying to moralise/preach at you)
    Big hugs

    • Honestly, I’m pretty sure that if she thought I needed to do this to move forward she would tell me to. And though this is a rather mild example, you have to take baby steps before you can run,
      I’ve been keeping secrets my whole life to spare other people pain. And though I would never share one of hers–there would never be a reason for me to–I don’t know why I have to continue to keep mine. My secrets are what keep me sick. I think I’m entitled to let go of them to get better.
      And I know you’re not moralizing or preaching to me. I happen to think the wonderful thing about this community is that we’ve all been there, done that, and are mature enough to take constructive criticism when we receive it. I wouldn’t put it out there if I didn’t think it wasn’t going to be met with honest opinions that are not intended to hurt me, but give me a little guidance.
      Anyway, all is food for thought, and I’m not sure how I may feel about it later when the opportunity arises. I just know I’m getting to a place now where I want to get well, and there’s a lot of ugly things in my past I need to confront to get there.

  5. Ohhhh…Deb, now see you’re going to make me all mushy again, and I’m trying to get a grip on this shit. I feel a kindred spirit with you also. If anything, the fact June Cleaver didn’t raise either of us makes me feel a kindred spirit with you. I loved that post of yours. One day I hope to write more about my mother, which for me is probably the touchiest subject I have. Reason why? I loved her, but really didn’t like her, I was extremely embarrassed by her when I was young, and that bothers me. Also, I am more like her than anyone else in the family, and that makes me wonder if I’ve failed at being a person at times. I know, this is way too deep for just a comment, huh? Anyway, you get the just of it.
    ‘Clearing the air’ is exactly the phrase I was looking for and just couldn’t find. Duh! Thank you for recognizing that’s exactly what my intention was. And no, I run absolutely no risk in him thinking that I’m ‘looking’ for something…that dog stopped drinking water a long time ago. Dead, dead, dead. Besides, he’s always looked at me one way, and it’s never been with any affection that’s more than a casual friendship or possible tryst, and I’m more than aware of that. I guess that is one of the questions I’ve always wondered about is “Why?”. This wouldn’t be absurd for me to ask, because I’ve had a lot more going for me than many of the women he’s associated himself romantically with. Maybe it’s nothing more than him being out for a good time, and he knew I was always the ‘marrying kind’. Maybe his hang-ups have never been about me at all. I just really think in order to heal, we need to get answers to questions about ourselves, instead of short-changing ourselves by guessing. I’d hoped if I shared this with him that possibly we could both find answers we’re seeking. Maybe for him answers that it hadn’t occurred to him he even needed. Anyway, this is not something that I intend to do in haste. If it happens at all it will only be when the opportunity arises and the moment is right. Of course, now I have to wonder if someone I know might stumble upon this and take measures into their own hands. I truly need to start paying more attention to what I say on this blog. I’m like a rollercoaster flying on the tracks downhill without brakes, anymore.

  6. The Hook says:

    You do what have to do sometimes. Simple as that – in theory!

  7. Do you think it would reopen a wound in him? I actually feel like we do clear our hearts, and the air, by coming clear with things like this. If you feel a grave harm would befall you for saying it, then keep it to yourself. If you feel that the air will be lighter and less full of what feels like deceit, with little harm to him, then go for it. Do it when you think you’re prepared to approach it light of heart, so it’s clear you’re not saying you’re dissatisfied with your life or looking for something new.

    The last couple of days, I felt miserable, just sitting on that post about my mom. I’d intended to post the first on Wednesday and today’s on Thursday. In the ended, I needed the weight off my back. I felt like I could breathe easier after I posted the first one, knowing the stone was already rolling. It’s a great feeling to make peace with things when both parties are still alive to laugh/commiserate over it!

    I have to say again that I love your entries. I love the rawness and truth of them. I’m so glad to MPACTY for connecting us, because I’m better for what I learn when I get to see a little of the world through your eyes.

  8. Hello Kitty –

    You friend Beth sounds like she was a very special friend and lady in your life. People die and you well know but isn’t it great that memories (good ones) last forever. Your relationship with her can blossom through the years although she’s not here to participate.

    I’ve loved (or liked a lot) before without telling the other person. I am actually a very shy and quiet guy in person. I know that may be hard for you to believe but it is in fact very true. Anyways, I look at it like this: if it was meant to be then it would have been so. Whatcha think? Happy Wednesday to you. šŸ™‚

    • Yeah, she was amazing. Probably the most entertaining, loving, wonderful person I’d ever had the good fortune to meet. I suppose that’s why her suicide is so tragic. She just couldn’t get beyond her own, completely unattainable standards she set for herself, and overcome the depression. I had to love her enough for the both of us. I still do even now.
      No, you’re right…I would’ve never guessed that you were shy. Isn’t that amazing how a blog can just pull the real person out from inside you. I bet you would’ve never guessed I’m shy either, huh? OKAY…YOU GOT ME. THAT’S A BALD-FACED LIE. I’VE NEVER BEEN SHY! I am however very protective of my feelings and showing others weakness by appearing vulnerable. I keep a wall around me and have for years. Few people get past it. I’ve allowed all of you to see more of me than I’ve even shown most of my family. I’m just only now beginning to consider that maybe I’ve hurt myself by doing so. Maybe even deprived others of really getting to know the real me. And I know this thing was never meant to be. I did make peace with that a long time ago. I guess I’m just tired of carrying it now alone, of pretending to feel nothing, and feel no real damage can be done by speaking the truth once any for all. Someone has to care about you in order for it to cause pain, and well…he never did. I just need him to I did anyway.

  9. Absolutely not, don’t you dare, I am sure Beth would be furious! Let it go. You can show him love and care in many other ways, not in that way though. Maybe one day, in a lighter moment, as part of a conversation but definitely not now. You poor soul, if only you had a chance back then, it could have fizzled out a different way and closed the book. You must still listen to Beth, you knew her well enough to second-guess what her advice would be now.
    Good luck.

    • Wow, I didn’t know my dilemma was going to strike a nerve! Is it safe to assume that I’m not the only one that has had to deal with keeping unrequited love a secret? Funny thing is though, enough time has passed that I no longer feel that ‘pull’ to be with him, it’s more that I have a desire to let him know that I once did. I mean, he really never knew. I must be a better actress than I give myself credit for, because he’s truly thought all these years that I had a crush, we had a one night stand, I hated him after, and we only made peace because I bonded with his sister. Since, there was a drunken night that involved both of us, it was nothing more than meeting a need, and we went back to just being casual friends who’d run into each other once in a while. I think he believed the only concern I’ve had for him is because I loved his sister so much. Doesn’t he have a right to know? I know I’d want to. God, it just occurred to me that I don’t know exactly who reads my blog anymore! I wonder if my being so frank about this was such a good idea after all. You ever have one of those days where you’re eating your foot before you even realize it?
      Oh, by the way, thanks for stopping by and sharing your opinion. I always love to meet new people! My name is Lou. šŸ™‚

      • Hi Lou, I am always eating my foot! And, erm, yeah, it has hit a nerve. I don’t know the answer, I’m so sorry, but what I wrote was like some weird voice shouting in my head, I had to go with the flow!

        And please, please don’t start worrying about who is reading this, please don’t temper anything, i love your writing, just as it is!

      • Oh, don’t worry about my tempering my writing any. I’m on a damn roll and couldn’t stop if I tried. Ha..ha..
        And never, ever, apologize for your opinion…especially when someone asks for it. You are entitled to that and was given that right at birth when God bestowed upon you a brain. That’s the reason I started this blog. I no longer had one, and said, “To hell with that!”
        I’m glad your on board and we’re going to get a chance to visit. I love meeting new people and sharing opinions. It helps me grow as a person.

  10. mairedubhtx says:

    I say let sleeping dogs lie. He knows how he messed up his life and if he had felt the same way about you that you felt about him, he would have doen something about it. Old wounds come up on us out of nowhere, but we have to let them scar-over and go on with our lives. I don’t think telling him would do any good now and still wouldn’t heal your wound. Just my opinion.

    • I know. I’ve considered all that many times. I suppose that’s why I haven’t said anything since she’s passed. The thing is that we have remained friendly over the years, and since she’s passed have been able to open up to each other more at times because we now share this common pain from her loss. He’s really no longer the cad that he was–or I suspect just pretended to be to impress his friends. It takes so damn long for men to grow up and out of that, doesn’t it? And I wonder if it would do him good to hear that someone other than his family who was almost required to care about him, did. He had some medical problems a while back and they really opened his eyes he told me to who were real friends and just good-time friends who were only around when it was convenient. I think he’s also questioned many relationships he’s had, and whether they were with him because he had something to offer them, or because they really cared. I was a pretty good girl. I never idealized the drug life, the ‘cool’ people that did them, or associated myself closely with that. I tinkered with all that when I was young and then left that far behind in my past. There was never a reason for me to care about him. Never anything he had to offer me that I desired. I just saw goodness there where no one else had. I just wonder if he needs to know that. Needs to know that this nonchalant attitude I’ve had all these years where he was concerned was just a farce, and he did in fact have something worthwhile about him that made me care so deeply what happened to him. I ask this question, because I believe I would want to know if I had touched someone else, because I doubt myself and my worth all the time. I don’t know…maybe you’re right. He cleaned up his life a long while ago and is moving forward. Maybe it is best to just let it smolder.